July 31, 2018; Silver Pass – Deer Creek: 15 Miles
I woke up this morning a little groggy. It took me a while to fall asleep, but once I found the sweet relief of sleep, it was hard to shake it off. I did get up once during the night to a rustling next to my tent. My body decided that right then was the perfect time to relieve myself. With a swift shake of the tent to scare off whatever was creeping around (I always think it’s a bear). I saw a beautiful night sky free from the dark clouds that held it captive just a few hours before. The moon was shining brightly behind a thin veil of misty clouds. Though eerie outside the comfort and safety of my tent, I found immense beauty despite being so vulnerable and alone.
Although my alarm went off at 5:30am, my body did not. It was a record slow camp break down for me. By body is beyond tired, so I gave it a break and let it take its time this morning. Besides, I have a super easy day today… or so I thought (dun dun dun!) No matter what, however, I was going to make it to that campsite and that one spot that potentially has service. I think a big reason why I’ve been sleeping so poorly is because I’ve been so worried about loved ones at home. After no contact in over 2 weeks, the mind goes wild with horrible scenarios in which everyone in your family died in a fiery car crash. Or maybe the entire East coast was wiped out by a nuclear bomb. Or maybe Addie ate another baseball and this time wasn’t so lucky. How would I know out here in the wilderness if any of these possibilities actually happened!? So I made it my mission to find this elusive service spot and today was the day this mission was to be completed. I just had to get my achy 28 year old body to get on board – no easy task.
But I forced it to, as I have been this entire journey. For the sake of Addie and my mental well being, I had to make it. The morning started with a beautiful downhill view of the mountains, bathing in the amber glow of the early morning sun. With a little added haze of the smoke, it looked like a painting. But soon that downhill turned into a harrowing uphill, complete with switchback after switchback in the sun. I have grown to absolutely detest switchbacks. They are long and neverending. Seeing the top the whole way up is mental torture. Finally I was at the top and only had a short hike to Virginia Lake. Yesterday, I toyed around with the idea of going further to stop at Virginia Lake because everyone told me how gorgeous it was. But after talking with Jeb at Silver Pass and he told me it was a 1500′ climb (now the switchbacks make sense) I decided nope – I put my body through enough. Plus the lightning storm solidified my decision.
I really thought that was the last of it with regards to climbing. Today was supposed to be easy! I took a nice rest at Virginia Lake and headed for another uphill battle up to Purple Lake. It was up and down all day. Although tough and unexpected, today was one of my favorite days view wise. The lakes were beautiful. And after the lakes came views of mountains. Gorgeous vista views along a crest for 5 miles. It took my mind off the constant up and down.
But as you can tell by the pictures, those mountains did not look happy. No, they were blanketed in storm clouds, complete with rain and thunder. However , the rain was light (only but a drizzle) and the lightning was a minor threat being miles away.
Soon I approached the zone that was promised to have service. I turned my phone off airplane mode and kept walking. And walking. Just when I gave up all hope on getting service, I heard the familiar ding of my phone! I reached the sacred zone, and it had perfect service. My mission was successful. I immediately called my parents and all is well! Addie is happy and healthy as is everyone else. So I should (hopefully) sleep well tonight.
After such great news, I happily hiked to the campsite. The happiness ended when I was promptly kicked out by a rude man. I was (and still am) annoyed by it. In fact, he’s wearing a mosquito net and there are literally no mosquitoes out tonight, which I’m thrilled about. Because the campground is full, two young guys from the Bay area allowed me to share their campsite.
Earlier today while getting water at Duck Creek, I ran into two brothers hiking from Bishop to Mammoth. They’re staying in the same campground and I got talking with Chris. He’s really nice and has a 12 year old daughter interested in backpacking. Great! Start them young!!
Tomorrow is a short jaunt to Red’s Resort. I’ll probably get breakfast there and head into Mammoth. Not sure where I’m staying yet, but I’m definitely looking forward to a shower and bed and real food!!